Our BS, eh?

A Canadian's musings on life in RBS-A (Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph), Israel and whatever else I feel like writing about.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cutting in Line

It's nothing new that people always try to cut in line by making up some story about how they really were already there, they just left the line temporarily to do their laundry.

I'm not going to comment on the phenomenon overall, but what I witnessed the other day at the bank was a little different.  To head off this problem, the bank placed a numbered ticket dispenser at the start of the line - like the ones you see at the bakery or the deli.  It's supposed to remove doubt as to who was there first, and it also allows one to go sit down in the waiting area rather than stand guard for their precious spot in line. 

I took my ticket, 203, but remained standing in the line anyway.  (I tried to sell it to some people behind me, but that didn't work - a little Stephen Wright humour there.)  Standing ahead of me was a woman who upon seeing me take a ticket, went over and also took one,  204, I presumed.  She was certainly there before me, so I suggested we swap tickets, that way she'd have the lower number.  She declined, and showed me she had already taken a number, which was in the 190s.  204 was the next number sticking out of the dispenser.  (I guess when she just wanted to see what numbers the dispenser was up to, but she didn't actually take one.)

The she pointed to a man already standing at a teller and says loud enough for everyone to hear, "But that guy came in at least half an hour after me, and he cut the line and they don't even care."  She turned to him and says, "Gezel (theft), that's what you did.  You just don't care.  Wherever there's charedim, this is what happens."  The man meanwhile smiles and with a smug look and says, "Yes, you're right, we're all terrible...no, you're right, you're right..."   This escalated into a heated exchange between the two of them, to the point where even the tellers told them both to knock it off. 

Now I don't know why this woman chose to make this a charedi issue since plenty of charedim don't cut in line and plenty of DL's like her do.  But I did resent the smugness of this guy, who appeared very satisfied to get away with cutting  the line and getting her all bent out of shape.  Whether its right or wrong to stereotype a whole group by the action of one, the reality is I felt that both his actions and his patronizing response was a chilul Hashem that does put charedim in a bad light. 

And then the strangest thing happened.  He pulls out his ticket, and it's a lower number than hers!  He was there before her.  He then gives her a look as if to say, "Eat _____, lady!"  Never in my life have I seen a person transition from angry and accusatory to embarrassed and apologetic as this woman did then.  She was wrong, and readily she admitted it.  But this guy loved the moment, and kept his smug look the entire time.  5 points for Slytherin, -5 for Griffindor. 

Now I'll leave aside the fact that he probably popped into the bank, saw how crowded it was, took a number, went out and did other errands in the area, then came back.  Sort of like "I was already here, I just left the line temporarily to pick up my brother at the airport."  But what I don't understand is, why did that guy wait so long to show his number, and prove he was first?    He could have diffused the whole situation before it started simply by showing his number right away.  Why did he let her carry on for so long?  Was it in order for her to embarrass herself in public even more than she already had?  Everyone knows it's wrong to embarrass someone else in public.  He wasn't doing that.  He was simply not stopping her from embarrassing herself.  

If that's why he did it, smug look and all, then even though he was technically right by being first, he was wrong in my book, I would think in G d's book too.   

-10 for Slytherin.

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